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      01-24-2024, 02:22 PM   #1
Gabe
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F10 '13 528i Major Headlamp Condensation/fog

Hello,

I recently noticed about 3 weeks ago condensation and fog in my passenger side headlight.
Some quick contextual facts:

- Bought car Sep. 2022 from DTX
- Live in Northwest Arkansas
- This current winter is its second here
- This winter has been especially rough in terms of temp and humidity (went to negatives first time in years) and winter seasons are usually dry, but this season and especially the past month or so it has been constantly raining
- Yesterday got the Headlamp/parking malf. And the passenger side DRLs are off.
- Malf. Goes away after turning on and off car, and the DRLs stay on, even after I drive near an hour, although this morning it came on after about 20ish min of driving
- Tried the manualís guidance w/ keeping lights on but didnít work.

Is there any chance I could fix this myself? As you can see in the pictures, I opened up the vent and found some water droplets down on the bottom, right above that blue wire you can see it ever so slightly (used q-tips to dry it up), but I have no clue where that came fromÖ it looks pretty darn clean inside. I have seen people throw cardboard over the hole and use a blow dryer in the vicinity to dry it up. Not sure if I should do that though.

I also attached images of the cover, as I have no clue if thereís a sealant on it or not.

Any help is appreciated, and let me know if any other info is needed to better help.
I really donít want to take it to the dealer, Iím a BROKE college student
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      01-24-2024, 05:36 PM   #2
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Tons of info about this occurrence. Seems like every F10 is effected. Conduct some google searches and youíll see. It will be difficult to fix it yourself, but I have no idea what you are capable of mechanically.

I have 2 F10s and both needed repairs. The longer you wait to get repaired, the more damage the moisture will do and the more the repair will cost. I had mine fixed at a shop near Philedelphia called Philly Pure Customs and they did an amazing job at a very reasonable cost. I realize you are no where close to them, but if you look them up on Instagram, you will get an idea whatís involved in the repair.

https://www.instagram.com/philly_pur...l4MGFzdzJrd211
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      01-24-2024, 08:55 PM   #3
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Hey Gabe, I was having a lot of condensation, and noticed that the top weatherstrip seal was literally falling apart. I replaced both sides, and that fixed my problem. YMMV of course, but it's a cheap fix compared to resealing the light. Headlights have to come out, but that was pretty straightforward.
https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...ht-63117240368

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      01-30-2024, 10:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StradaRedlands View Post
Hey Gabe, I was having a lot of condensation, and noticed that the top weatherstrip seal was literally falling apart. I replaced both sides, and that fixed my problem. YMMV of course, but it's a cheap fix compared to resealing the light. Headlights have to come out, but that was pretty straightforward.
https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...ht-63117240368

Itís funny, one of mine is quite messed up as well, but I just couldnít believe that would create or allow for that much moisture or condensation to get in. I may order that, but I think I will get a quote from a local shop first. Thank you, I had a feeling that may have had something to do with it.
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      01-30-2024, 11:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe View Post
Itís funny, one of mine is quite messed up as well, but I just couldnít believe that would create or allow for that much moisture or condensation to get in. I may order that, but I think I will get a quote from a local shop first. Thank you, I had a feeling that may have had something to do with it.
Yeah, I can't speak to your situation, but I was pleasantly surprised when that relatively simple thing fixed the problem! I still have a very slight bit of condensation under certain circumstances, but that seal addressed 95% of the problem!
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      02-09-2024, 08:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StradaRedlands View Post
Yeah, I can't speak to your situation, but I was pleasantly surprised when that relatively simple thing fixed the problem! I still have a very slight bit of condensation under certain circumstances, but that seal addressed 95% of the problem!
So I got quoted $2,800 for a full headlight replacement. Iím confused by this considering no bulbs are out/work perfectly and as intended. There is simply a lot of condensation/fog (which has been getting better as the weather is warming). Should I listen to them? Or take it to another mechanic for another opinion?
P.S. this was a private mechanic, NOT a BMW dealership.
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      02-09-2024, 09:00 PM   #7
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Eventually it will affect the electrical, if not taken care of As soon as you can, you can use desiccant and the hair dryer methods, however, only band-aids to a complete Suture. you can definitely reseal it!
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      02-10-2024, 01:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiltiCoatl89 View Post
Eventually it will affect the electrical, if not taken care of As soon as you can, you can use desiccant and the hair dryer methods, however, only band-aids to a complete Suture. you can definitely reseal it!
I wouldnít even know where to start on resealing it. Mechanic gave me ZERO info on whether or not there were specific holes or defective seals anywhere on it, they simply said thereís too much condensation/fog and need to replace the whole thing. I will probably use the band-aid methods to at least get that water out of there, but Iím worried about blowing a hot hair dryer into that electrical area I opened up, as shown above. Would the recommendation on desiccant be to just throw one in that area I opened up and hope it gets it all?
Thanks for the response, very helpful.
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      02-10-2024, 01:32 PM   #9
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If I can help you, I did it like this: opened the headlight cover and dried the headlight from the outside. I dried everything in 45 minutes. Use the days when there is plenty of sun to help you in the drying process. Now I watch where the moisture will appear first. That way I will be closer to the heart of the problem
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      02-10-2024, 02:02 PM   #10
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If I were setting out on a path to fix headlight condensation (and I might be soon) I would be taking a serious look at this guy's work:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ErJ6iC3Ip4

IMO the gasket referenced should be in good shape, but does not seal the headlight housing and make it watertight. It should be watertight (except the vents) on its own.
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      02-10-2024, 03:27 PM   #11
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I pulled my headlight today and looked for cracks. I could not find any so I replaced the gasket and both caps. Keeping my fingers crossed for the next rain!
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      02-10-2024, 05:39 PM   #12
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I had the same issue on my driver's side and bought new lenses on amazon. It's a pain cutting the old lenses but it fixed my condensation problems. I didn't need to do the passenger side but did it anyway to renew the look.
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      02-10-2024, 06:48 PM   #13
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There are some services on ebay and probably elsewhere that specialize in this. Probably money well-spent. Look pretty legit based on the feedback:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/233681120296

https://www.ebay.com/itm/124814454556
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      02-10-2024, 07:42 PM   #14
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Yeah, That service I have seen before Colonel, and it seems promising and at a good price too!
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      02-10-2024, 10:51 PM   #15
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So generally, where is the sealant relative to the pictures Iíve shown? And if I use desiccant, would I just drop a few packets in that electrical area, wait maybe 24 hrs on a sunny day, and see if that clears it up?

I may enlist the help of a friend to fully take off the headlight and send it off, but before doing that Iíd like to at least clear it up, ďband-aidĒ it. Would using a blow-dryer directly in that unit I opened up from the hood be safe?

Again, thank you everyone for the help and directions, I apologize if I continue to ask redundant questions.
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      02-10-2024, 10:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StradaRedlands View Post
There are some services on ebay and probably elsewhere that specialize in this. Probably money well-spent. Look pretty legit based on the feedback:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/233681120296

https://www.ebay.com/itm/124814454556
This may be my best option, only probably is getting the actual headlight off. Although doable, I feel I could do more damage, but whatever I can do to NOT pay $2800 is certainly on the top of my list!
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      02-10-2024, 11:15 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surly73 View Post
If I were setting out on a path to fix headlight condensation (and I might be soon) I would be taking a serious look at this guy's work:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ErJ6iC3Ip4

IMO the gasket referenced should be in good shape, but does not seal the headlight housing and make it watertight. It should be watertight (except the vents) on its own.
Watched the whole video. If only I were capable of doing this/had the right tools. I donít even know if I have a crack let alone the gasket which I will probably never be able to gain access too anyways.
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      02-11-2024, 12:07 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe View Post
This may be my best option, only probably is getting the actual headlight off. Although doable, I feel I could do more damage, but whatever I can do to NOT pay $2800 is certainly on the top of my list!
Headlight removal is pretty easy... four bolts, two on top, two in the back.
I believe in you!
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      02-11-2024, 12:21 AM   #19
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Another option is to rebuild both of your head light assemblies for a total of $385.64 (or an average of $192.82 each side):
  1. Right Housing: $171.01 + Free Shipping
  2. Left Housing: $175.75 + Free Shipping
  3. Left & Right Lens: $38.88 + Free Shipping (You may not need lens if you are deconstruct the housing only)

Note 1: Prices and links above are for F10 LCI headlight assemblies. eBay sells similar parts for F10 pre-LCI headlights for similar price points.

Note 2: You'll need to transfer your original headlight innards over to the new housings, and external covers/electronics

Note 3: You'll also need a roll of Butyl headlight sealant (7mm x 6 meters should suffice)

Why this option? The black housing breaks really easily around the area where it mates with the lens, which is very, very hard to remove without incurring "some" damage to the housing. This solution allows you to easily break away the housing material, transfer the interior over to the new housing, and button your headlight assembly rather easily and quickly, with great results.

Last edited by M_Bimmer; 02-11-2024 at 11:09 PM..
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      02-11-2024, 01:27 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by culto View Post
I pulled my headlight today and looked for cracks. I could not find any so I replaced the gasket and both caps. Keeping my fingers crossed for the next rain!
"Looked"? Or used compressed air and soap solution?
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      02-11-2024, 03:53 PM   #21
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I didnít have a compressor so I tried a hand pump (which did not work well).
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      02-11-2024, 11:13 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by culto View Post
I didnít have a compressor so I tried a hand pump (which did not work well).
A hand pump should work if you plug up one of the two drain holes, and use the other drain hole for the compressed air.

You don't need high PSI to make bubbles in a water/dish liquid mix...and all of the access holes are sealed.
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